Adults blamed for minors' getting guns
Many minors are carrying guns on the streets and sometimes into the schools. Too often they shoot children and adults accidentally or intentionally. Where are these minors getting guns? Why aren't their parents being held responsible for shootings that occur?
Adults are charged with an offense if they give or sell alcoholic beverages to minors. If a minor takes a parent's car without permission and does damage with it, the parent is held responsible.
If a gun is legally registered to a parent and the minor takes it without permission, there is definitely a problem of some sort in the home. Besides being held responsible for what the minor does with the gun, the parent's privilege of owning a gun should be withdrawn until that problem is solved.
If the gun wasn't registered to a parent, then where did it come from? There had to be an adult involved somewhere. Yet I have never seen a case of an adult being prosecuted for enabling a minor to posses a gun. Why?
How long are our politicians going to continue to cater to professional sports? First the governor and the state built the new stadium, and now Baltimore's Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke wants to forgo collecting the interest due from the Orioles on last year's rent at Memorial Stadium.
How many businesses in the city are allowed to not only be late in paying their taxes but also are able to abstain from paying the interest due on the taxes?
How many extra hours could Enoch Pratt library branches remain open on just the interest alone?
Take a change of venue to an all-white middle-class community, which results in 12 non-black jurors, add an outstandingly inept and botched prosecution, stir in a brilliant defense by competent defense attorneys, top off with an eight-page charge by the judge to tell the jurors to look at the case through the eyes of the defendants, thus limiting their ability to separate the charges.
No wonder the verdicts in the Rodney King case were not guilty.
Now take 10 seconds of an 81-second tape and show it hundreds of times on TV with terse comments by every major broadcaster, but don't report on the actual context of the trial. Finally, add self-fulfilling prophecies by leaders who should have known that "the cities would burn if the verdict wasn't 'guilty,'" and you've got the perfect recipe for chaos.
Who's to blame? There's enough blame for this travesty to go around, but the biggest mistake would be to blame the jurors.
James G. Watson
Anna Quindlen and I are pretty much on the same side of the gender gap and we believe Bill Clinton is with us. But Ms. Quindlen shouts Mr. Clinton is not vocal enough on "women's issues." Do it, Bill, and die a quick, perhaps more painful political death than already appears possible.
Ms. Quindlen comes from the scorched earth school of feminist politics. If she thinks that "half the voters" follow that path she just doesn't get it. She thinks Anita Hill will do for American politics what the policies and practices of the Reagan-Bush team didn't, mainly galvanize large groups of angry, disaffected women.
She is not just wrong, she's blind. Polls show most of the American electorate still doesn't believe Anita Hill -- though I do -- and a good chunk of them are black women at that. Another large voting block believes Ms. Hill, but forgives Judge Thomas his youthful indiscretions. A third, even bigger block just doesn't care.
The writer is a talk show host on WBAL Radio.
Baltimore County's growth problems are the result of 40 years of neglect -- neglect of Baltimore City. For 40 years Baltimore County has spurned the outstretched hands of Baltimore City. Wise men and women have pleaded constantly that we in Maryland are one body and that a diseased limb, left untreated, will sooner or later infect the whole.
Now the county needs the city. We will show you how to cope with overcrowded classrooms, an aging population, racially changing neighborhoods, old tired buildings, outdated commercial strips, congested roads and pollution. You will soon learn what it means to have too many needs and too few resources, and no one to sympathize with your plight.
Harford, Carroll, Frederick, Anne Arundel and Howard, are you listening? It is too late for Baltimore County, but maybe not for you. When will you understand that the solution to your growth problems is the rebirth of Baltimore City?
Vincent P. Quayle
Praise for police
I have been working as a volunteer with the Maryland state police at the Glen Burnie barracks for approximately four months.
It is both an honor and a privilege to be working with these people. Everyone with whom I have been in contact at the barracks has great concern for the public's welfare, and all are very proficient in their jobs.
Anyone who can should take part in this volunteer program. If you do, you will find there is one branch of our state government you need not worry about -- your Maryland state police department.
Walter R. Tilghman
Public schools merely reflect the status quo of our society
Our public school system -- more than 100 years old and, for the last 70 or 80 years, predominantly co-educational -- has seemingly done little to influence males and females to live harmoniously together. As Susan Walsh (May 1 letter) points out, we have a "world full of confused, frustrated, angry men and women who cannot communicate." She seems to be using this as an argument against, as she calls it, the single-sex school. Yet what have co-ed schools accomplished?
We have epidemic sexual harassment (most not reported); increased crime against women; the perpetuation of male and female stereotypes at every turn (mostly by the media and advertising groups, which we accept and endorse through our buying power); and a white male-dominated society.
Why? The answer must be that the movers and shapers want it that way. Schools, of whatever sexual composition, are not problem solvers. They are, if not promoters, then at least perpetuators of the status quo. Educators are a mistrusted lot (in this country), who to succeed at their craft must park their innovations (problem-solving prescriptions, if they have them) at the door. We are not interested.
We do not want whites going to school with blacks, the poor going to school with the wealthy, the college-bound going to school with the vocational students. And we like things that way. We resist change vociferously. Our reluctance to trust ourselves and to charge our education system to work for change in people rather than in math and science scores only produces mediocre results.
Aim low and you achieve low. So we get the math and science robot. But you do not achieve a more harmonious society. Sexual, ethnic or economic composition of schools will not be the governing concern. What will govern will be what maintains the status quo.
In that context, separate but equal was never meant as an answer to race relations. It was promulgated as a dodge to the racial bullet. But schools alone cannot be adorned with that crown of thorns. They do not move nor exist autonomously in our society.
Pity poor Phillip Stahl! ("Believers Duped by Bunkum," The Charlotte Observer, reprinted from The Evening Sun, April 21, 1992).
On the day of judgment, one of those "supernatural occurrences" in which he does not believe, Mr. Stahl will answer for his unbelief to a God who exists only in the minds of poor deluded and irrational people; and, then, be consigned to a non-existent hell for the rest of eternity.
The Prince of Denmark put it rather well: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
Connor L. Corkran, Jr.